Information for British citizens moving to or living in Chile, including guidance on residency, healthcare and driving.
This guide sets out essential information for British citizens moving to or living in Chile. Read about how our British Embassy can help.
This information is provided as a guide only. You should get definitive information from the Chilean authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.
Support for British Nationals Abroad: A Guide sets out how British nationals can stay safe abroad and how the FCDO can help if you do get into difficulty.
Read general guidance on moving or retiring abroad.
Before you go
See our travel advice for Chile for up-to-date information on entry requirements, local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.
If you would like to be aware of any covid-19 restrictions, please check the Chilean government website dedicated to this subject.
Visas and residency
Check the entry requirements for Chile in our travel advice.
If you are a British passport holder visiting Chile for tourism and for less than 90 days, you do not need a visa.
On arrival in Chile the immigration authorities will issue you with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo - Tourist Card’, an A5 sized white form. You must keep this document on a safe place and present it to immigration when you leave the country. If you lose it, you should request a copy of the Tourist card on the PDI website (in Spanish) choosing the option ‘Duplicado de Tarjeta de Turismo’.
Please note that as of January 2023 the official website (in Spanish) for digital procedures for Chilean immigration was still in the process of being finished as the immigration law changed recently.
To request a visa to live in Chile you must contact the Chilean consulate in London for advice by sending an email to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Passports and travel
Check the Chile travel advice for passport validity requirements.
Healthcare in Chile
See the health section of our travel advice for Chile.
There are good health facilities in Santiago and other major cities, but private clinics and hospitals are expensive. However, medical care can be limited in remote areas. Care in public hospitals is not free of charge, and the facilities have been known to sometimes experience shortages of basic medicines and equipment. If travelling and/or living in Chile, it is highly advisable to obtain medical insurance. If you wish to work in Chile, you will need to choose between public (Fonasa) or private (Isapre) health insurance, which is mandatory even if you already have international insurance. Private hospitals sometimes require payment prior to giving treatment to patients.
For mental health matters, see our travel and mental health guidance for a list of UK and international organisations that can offer support.
More information about Chile’s public health system can be found on the website of the Ministry of Health (in Spanish).
You may also wish to read our list of medical facilities with English-speaking staff.
NOTE: UK Travel insurance providers will not generally cover your healthcare costs if you live overseas.
If you are on a prescription for any medication you should ensure you have a supply of it, or are able to obtain it when in Chile. Certain medicines may not be available in Chile (including major brands readily available in the UK), and you may be prohibited from taking them into the country. You should consult your GP before travelling to Chile to find out about any alternative medication.
Working in Chile
If you are planning to move to Chile and work, you may need a visa.
To apply for a job you may need to provide an apostilled police records certificate (Certificado de antecedentes penales).
The National Migration Service (Servicio Nacional de Migraciones) (in Spanish) grants residence permits to foreigners who have the purpose of settling in Chile for a limited period.
Temporary Residence (Residencia Temporal)
Applications for temporary residence must be made from outside of Chile through the platform of the National Migration Service. Foreign citizens residing outside of Chile can access to obtain information to apply according to the requirements and the activities they can carry out in the country.
You may use the following links to apply:
https://ayuda.serviciomigraciones.cl (in Spanish)
To submit an application for a Temporary Residence Permit (Residencia Temporal) you will need to create a new user and apply in the following link:
https://tramites.extranjeria.gob.cl (in Spanish)
To check the different residence permits fees, please check the following link:
https://serviciomigraciones.cl/aranceles/ (in Spanish)
For matters related to the recognition of educational qualifications, please contact the Ministry of Education (in Spanish).
If in the UK, please contact the Chilean Consulate in London.
Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).
Studying in Chile
If you plan to study in Chile, you must meet all visa requirements before you travel.
The Ministry of Education (in Spanish) has responsibility for the public and private education system in Chile. There are private schools around the country, most of them located in Santiago. The quality of education varies significantly. There are a number of international schools, including British schools, in the country, most of them located in Santiago, Vina del Mar and Concepcion.
Contact the relevant higher education provider in Chile to check what fees you have to pay. Please note that public universities are not free of charge.
The UK has a double taxation agreement with Chile so that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.
You should consider getting professional advice on paying tax in Chile (which could be provided by an English-speaking lawyer in Chile)).
You may also wish to read guidance on:
Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid if you are abroad for more than 4 weeks.
You may wish to read State Pension guidance if you have lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand and you are claiming or waiting to claim your UK State Pension.
Chile and the UK do not have a bilateral agreement on Pension funds. However, there are certain procedures that allow the withdrawal of pension fund contributions at the end of your stay in Chile, although the process is not straightforward. The basic conditions are set out (in Spanish) on the Pension Regulator’s website (Superintendencia de Pensiones).
It is important to check that your employment contract contains a clause or annex that specifically states that you will continue to pay national insurance contributions in the UK. In Chile, you will also need to show that you hold a university degree or technical qualification (this will need to be legalised in the UK), and that you have paid the necessary national insurance contributions in the UK to cover you for illness, invalidity, pension and death benefit.
It is also advisable to contact your Chilean Pension Fund (AFP), for further guidance as soon as you take up your position to ensure you understand the documentation that you will need to provide at the end of your stay. The British Embassy is unable to provide a letter confirming your national insurance contributions in the UK, and you will need to direct your enquiry to HMRC.
Life certificates for UK State Pensions
If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you must respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you do not.
Money and banking
To open a bank account in Chile, it is mandatory to have a RUT (a national identity number). You will receive this once you obtained temporary/permanent residence.
Accommodation and buying property
Driving in Chile
Read the guidance on what actions you must complete to drive legally in Chile
- Chileatiende - Licencias de conducir (in Spanish)
- CONASET - Mejores conductores, mejores ciudadanos (in Spanish)
Driving abroad https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad
If you are asked for a letter authenticating, certifying or validating your UK driver’s licence, you should contact your UK issuing office (e.g. the DVLA)
Guidance for travelling by road in Chile see (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/chile/safety-and-security )
If you wish to take your vehicle with you, see (https://www.gov.uk/taking-vehicles-out-of-uk )
Driving licence rules in Chile if you live there
In Chile, British Nationals on tourist visas can drive using their UK licence for the duration of their stay, up to 90 days. If you become a resident in Chile, you must apply for a Chilean licence. See the Chilean Driving Licences page. (in Spanish)
If you have a UK Blue Badge and live in Chile, you must return it to the original UK issuing authority.
In Chile person can be registered in the National Register of Disability and obtain a disability credential which will contain the characteristics of his/her disability and the need (or not) for further re-evaluation; it will also indicate whether he/she has reduced mobility.
Read the guidance on how to obtain this credential (in Spanish).
You can vote in Chilean elections if you have residency. You can check in Servicio Nacional Electoral de Chile’s website (in Spanish) to see if you are able to vote with your national ID number (RUN).
You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:
Births, deaths, marriage and civil partnership
If your child is born in Chile, you can register the birth with the UK authorities in addition to registering locally. If your child has British nationality, you do not need to register the birth with the UK authorities to apply for a British passport.
If someone dies in Chile read our guidance on:
Read our list of English-speaking funeral directors in Chile.
Marriage and civil partnership
If you are a British national getting a marriage or civil partnership abroad, you might need certain documents from the UK government, for example a certificate of no impediment (CNI).
To enter Chile with pet dogs, cats and ferrets, the sanitary requirements established in the national regulation must be met. Servicio Agricola Ganadero (SAG) (website in Spanish) is the authority that oversee this matter.
Read more about the requirements in the following links:
- ingreso de perros, gatos y hurones mascotas (animales de compañía tradicionales) - SAG (in Spanish)
- solicitud de autorización sanitaria para ingresar a chile con perros y gatos mascotas. - SAG (in Spanish)
To visit other countries with your pet, check the rules for the country you’re travelling to. Contact your vet to get the travel documents your pet needs.
Read guidance on:
bringing your pet to Great Britain. Check that your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date. Vets in Great Britain cannot enter rabies vaccination details in non-UK issued pet passports.
Chile uses the following emergency numbers: ambulance (131), fire (132), police (133) for Carabineros or (134) for PDI (Civil police).
If you need urgent help, contact the British Embassy in Santiago.
In the case of domestic violence, for emergencies you should call the police on 133 or 134.The Chilean Government has a number set up to address domestic violence (149) where you can receive guidance and report incidents. In the case of violence against women, the equivalent number is 1455. More information on violence against women can be found on the Ministry of Women website (in Spanish). There is also a number for reporting child abuse and receiving information (147).
If you are the victim of a crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis, contact the British Embassy in Chile.
Read the guidance on international parental child abduction if your child may be at risk of this.
If you have been the victim of a rape or sexual assault in Chile, read the Chile: information for victims of rape and sexual assault - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). See also Victim of rape and sexual assault abroad - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
If you are a victim of sexual assault in Chile, you should report it to the closest police station or call the police (133 or 134). In the case of sexual abuse of minors, you can call 147 for information and to report. In Chile, you can approach the government-support network for victims of sexual assault, who provide psychological and legal support. More information is available at the links below:
- programa de apoyo a víctimas (in Spanish) – Ministerio del Interior 600 818 1000
Aimed at all people who have been victims of violent crime, so that they receive free and specialised psychological, social and legal assistance.
- atención a víctimas de delitos violentos (in Spanish)– CAJ
An interdisciplinary team composed of lawyers, psychologists and social workers, and the aim of the work is to help the victim and his or her family to repair the effect caused by the experience of a violent crime.
- fiscalia (in Spanish) - Prosecutor’s Office.
You may also wish to contact our consular team in Chile for advice or support. If so, please call +56 22 370 4100 and follow the prompts to the Consular Section.
Returning to the UK
Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on bringing family members, tax and access to services.
Your non-British family members wishing to return with you will require their own immigration status.
Once permanent residence in Chile has been obtained, it may be lost if the person remains outside Chile for more than 1 year. In case of wanting to maintain the residence and not being able to return within 1 year, you must inform the Chilean embassy or consulate nearest to your place of residence to justify the reason for not being able to return and express the will to maintain your permanent residence. Read the guidance on how to request this extension (in Spanish). This can only be requested once, and after being 2 years outside of Chile you will automatically lose your permanent residence.
Other useful information
Remember that the Support for British nationals abroad: a guide sets out how to stay safe abroad, and explains how the FCDO can support you if you get into difficulty.